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Why This Psychologist Suggests That You 'Love Your Kid A Bit Less'

A big myth in parenting is that "a good parent is a loving one," says Dr. Shefali Tsabary.

All you need is love.

The Beatles said it famously and people everywhere tend to agree with the power of this boundless emotion. People who aren’t Dr.

Shefali Tsabary, that is. 

According to Dr. Shefali ― a clinical psychologist, parenting author and mother herself ― this sentiment is responsible for one of the biggest myths in parenting, which is: a good parent is a loving one. Not true, she tells Oprah on OWN’s “SuperSoul Sunday.”

“I tell parents: Love your kid a bit less,” Dr. Shefali says. “Because the love is messing this up.”

The reason for that, she continues, is because of the blinding effect that love has.

“Love is blind, and what that means is not that it’s unconditional. It’s truly blind,” she clarifies. “You’re not even seeing the child in front of you. You’re just so consumed by your need to be loved back, by your need to feel love yourself.”

This is why Dr. Shefali suggests shifting the focus.

“Let’s put love aside. Now let’s talk about consciousness,” she says. “Because love without consciousness becomes need, dependency. It becomes control in the name of love.” 

It takes certain effort to be fully conscious and present for your children, but Dr. Shefali believes that it’s a profound calling that we’re destined to answer. 

“This entire life is designed to us to enter presence,” she says. “What are the biggest lessons people learn after a huge trauma? ‘I have to let go of my ego. I have to let go of the should-have and the fantasy life, and enter the as-is. I have to surrender to the grace of this moment.’”

She continues, “Our children are teaching us this every moment. They are taking us to our greatest courage, but we are not taking the invitation. It’s the most profound and easy invitation, but it requires a moment-by-moment presence.”

“SuperSoul Sunday” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

Another one of Dr. Shefali’s teachings:

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